Many in the Canadian musical community are reeling with shock and sadness over the death of Winnipeg-born, Manitoba-educated composer Jocelyn Morlock at the age of just 53 years old.
Born in St. Boniface, Jocelyn received her Undergraduate Degree at Brandon University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance. From there, she would go on to earn Masters and Doctoral degrees in Composition from the University of British Columbia.
She served as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s composer-in-residence from 2014 to 2019, and received a Juno Award for her very moving and beautiful piece “My Name is Amanda Todd.” She went on to teach and inspire students at UBC’s School of Music.
She first started exploring composition under the mentorship of composer T. Patrick Carrabré while she was a student at Brandon University. This mentorship would evolve into a deep friendship as both composers ended up as colleagues at UBC. In a statement, Carrabré said, “I am so deeply saddened by Jocelyn’s passing. I will treasure my memories of her, as a friend, a colleague and a former student… Jocelyn and her music impacted so many people and the depths of her feelings were there for all to experience. From serious to silly, she made the world a richer place.”
Her music was performed by some of Canada’s finest ensembles including the National Arts Centre Orchestra, The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Music Intima, and the Vancouver Cantata Singers, amongst many others.
Much of her music was inspired by nature, in particular birds. Her music was contemporary while at the same time being very lyrical and beautiful. The textures created in her pieces were truly unique and could only come from the mind of someone who had a very clear vision, a truly special soundscape.
In an interview with the digital magazine “Sir” from Vancouver, Alexander Shelley, Conductor of the National Arts Centre said,” “Far too soon the wonderfully kind, empathetic, beguilingly fun and brilliant artist that was Jocelyn Morlock has left us… I cannot help but smile as I recall her charm, wit and quirky humour, her generosity, her razor-sharp mind and her x-ray-like perception as we worked together at the NAC on ‘My Name is Amanda Todd’. That beautiful, special work, which has contributed so much to the conversation around cyberbullying and for which she justly won the JUNO award for best composition, now has another layer of tragedy etched into its contours.”
For those of us who were lucky enough to know her, she will be remembered for her warmth, humour and intelligence. She had this wonderful way of lighting up a room with her quirky, off-the-wall sense of humour. Even in her student days at Brandon University, her talent and friendliness were known and infectious. Putting aside the music for a moment, she was quite simply a truly special human being. She was the kind of person that you do not often meet in a lifetime. She gave so much joy to so many, both in her personality and character; truly a remarkable human being.
Jocelyn, you will be missed!